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“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:3-4 NRSV).
When I lived in Houston, I would be lucky to see four stars in the sky on a clear night. The city lights placed a veil over the sky so that we could not appreciate the beauty that the constellations offer. We had to leave the city to enjoy the multitude of stars in the heavens.
For me there is nothing more sacred than the short moments I have as I walk my car port to my home in New Mexico. There are no city lights to hide the stars. I find the sky amazing as I am reminded that I am just a speck at best in this world. I stand and behold the majestic wonder of God.
Paul acknowledges how the truth is sometimes hidden behind a veil. After noticing that every single time the gospel is used in this text it is in the lower case, I am reminded that Paul was not referring to the Canonical Gospels, but rather to his own sense of the good news of Christ. The veil of which he speaks separates those who do not know the truth of God, from the ultimate source itself. He further explains that there is a god that controls and holds power over this world. It is actually this false god (with a lower case “g”) that blinds the unbeliever from the true source of light.
The truth is we all have veils which hide us from the truth. Our veils can be fear, unbelief, regret, un-forgiveness, doubt, etc. We cannot enjoy the beauty of God as long as there is something which hides God’s love from us. Our joy cannot be made full, because we cannot connect with the source of all joys.
Paul acknowledges that Christ himself tears down people, places and things that separate us from God. Once clear, we are free to trust the incredible power of God. Our good news is right before our eyes and we can celebrate the wonders of what the Almighty continues to do in and through our lives. We simply remove the veil and follow.
In a traditional wedding, of course I have to add the word traditional because I have taken part in many not too traditional weddings, the bride wears a veil. Her face is covered from the world and from her husband to be. The groom cannot see his bride’s face until she is right before him. When he lifts the veil, there is no longer any mystery as to how beautiful she appears in that moment. He sees her for the first time as his wife. That is my favorite part of the wedding ceremony.
How incredibly symbolic is the wedding ceremony to our faith. Christ as the bridegroom lifts the veil off of his church. And as we catch a glimpse of the bridegroom for the first time, we are amazed and made to feel as if we become one with our God. We become a part of the family of God. We stand back and give thanks for the incredible mystery that stands before us.
I challenge you to allow yourself a very small retreat. Get out of the city and look up at the stars. Be renewed with God’s unending vastness. Allow yourself to receive the incredible love of God. Nothing else will be the same.